Sue Sensor’s Sunshine Numbers went to the lead immediately in the $50,000 Carolina First Carolina Cup (Gr. 3), quickly opened a yawning lead, and cantered home to an easy, 27 1/4-length victory in the feature race of the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on Saturday, April 2.
Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr. and ridden by Jody Petty, the Polish Numbers gelding never was threatened in the 2 1/4-mile race over the Carolina Cup course of natural fences. Gil Johnston’s Swagger Stick finished second, and 2010 Carolina First Carolina Cup winner Spy in the Sky took third in a field of five.
The champion New York-bred steeplechase horse in 2009 and a contender for the 2010 title to be announced later in April, Sunshine Numbers ran the distance in 4:23 on firm ground.
The Carolina Cup score was a hometown win for Camden resident Sue Sensor. “It’s fabulous,” she said as friends and neighbors congratulated her in the winner’s circle. It also was the third victory over the Springdale Course for the nine-year-old Polish Numbers gelding, who had won consecutive runnings of the Hobkirk Hill, a starter allowance race on the Colonial Cup program each fall.
“He keeps getting better and better,” said Kingsley, who arranged the private purchase of Sunshine Numbers from Maryland-Virginia trainer Ferris Allen after the well-bred gelding was running in $7,500 claiming turf races.
“Arch had this horse in such great condition,” said Petty, who has reduced his number of mounts this year after several 2010 falls. He said he checked on Sunshine Numbers’ opposition past the finish line the first time, and the front-runner relaxed for him before the next fence.
Sunshine Numbers gave himself another little breather on the final run down the backstretch, and Petty was uncertain whether he was relaxing or tiring. But Sunshine Numbers jumped the third to last fence powerfully and gave a strong, clean jump over the last fence.
After checking to be certain no one was closing ground, Petty wrapped up on Sunshine Numbers and galloped him past the finish line.